PLEX are one of the most wanted items in EVE Online, they represent game time, in-game ISK as well as being one of the best trade able commodities.
The market for PLEX along is worth trillions and daily hundreds, possibly thousands, are traded in Jita and other market hubs across New Eden. The price of PLEX has been steadily increasing, with a near 50% increase in price over the past 18 months (from around 480m ISK to just over 720m ISK per PLEX).
Based on this it's no wonder its a prize item for scamming.
There are multiple variations of the PLEX scam (buying or selling), it might be for one PLEX or multiple, the contract may offer the stated price but you'll be paying for a PLEX but also handing over a PLEX as part of the transaction (shown is the Sell variation below):
|One of the many PLEX Contract scam variations|
Just like all other scams the setup is simple, a contract is setup stating that a PLEX is wanted and they are willing to pay "x amount" for it. The amount is typically under the current market price so it looks like "a really good deal".
Depending on the variation contract however will be setup to only give a fraction what the advertisement will state (700k instead of 700m) and in some variations you may find that you'll be receiving a PLEX but also providing one along with the ISK (as seen above).
The advertisement in Local will appear simple and innocuous like this:
|"No I don't want to sell my item on the market, I'd like to save the fees"|
What Happens Now
The mark sees the advertisement and thinks to them self "Oh discounted PLEX, I'll have me some of that" and clicks on the contract and glances at the details. The Pay section says I'll be paying 700 so it must be million and the Get section shows a PLEX, so it must be the real deal.
The mark clicks accept and then realizes that they've been conned.
In the Buy variation the user pay change the contract so they'll pay only 700k for the item, as a result you've sold a PLEX for 1% of its true value or they'll offer the actual price (700m) but state that you're actually providing two or more PLEX instead of the one they advertised. The Sell variation has much the same ending, you either pay too much or find you are providing two or more instead of the one you had wanted.
How Can You Protect Yourself
As with all Contract scams, read the details. Spend time verifying that the contract is setup correctly and the right amounts/items are in the right sections.
The PLEX scams especially are too good to be true, seriously consider yourself in the position of owning a PLEX, under what circumstances would you knowingly sell it for LESS than the market value (even taking into account fees). None that is the answer, no legitimate owner of a PLEX will sell it for less than its worth and even if you did need ISK fast why use a contract when the Buy Orders for PLEX will pay you nearly the market worth.